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"Life is either a daring adventure or

-- Helen Keller --

During the question and answer period immediately following my Antarctica presentation at Brentwood School an enthusiastic third grade student asked, "Is Antarctica the coolest place in the world you've ever been?"  Without hesitation I answered, "You better believe it!"

An expedition to the Crystal Desert has been a life-long dream of mine.  The thought of coming face-to-face with penguins, killer whales, leopard seals and icebergs the size of Rhode Island has intrigued me since childhood.  So when I met Sven Lindblad, owner of Lindblad Expeditions/National Geographic, on an Alaskan cruise and listened to him wax and wane about this distant continent of ice I just knew I had to go!  By voyage's we had made a commitment to travel together to Antarctica!  Sven and I agreed on an early January 2011 departure date and somehow, someway stuck to it!

A couple months before departure, I asked a friend of mine, Philip Amoils, if he'd like to spend January in Antarctica and to my utter disbelief, he signed on!  Instantly the entertainment factor skyrocketed (for those of you who know Phil, you can understand what I mean) and the "Three Amigos" were all packed up and ready to head south!

Without boring you to tears, we flew to Santiago, Chile, spent two nights, journeyed to Ushuaia, Argentina, where we embarked on the National Geographic Explorer to cross the dreaded Drake Passage!  Two rough sea days later, and a few full "sickness" bags compliments of my seaworthy roommate Phillip, we were gazing upon a world of brilliant white!  Simply astonishing!

Ten days later, as I disembarked, my head was spinning from the overwhelming magnificence of it all!  I believe in the age-old phrase, "Pictures speak louder than words," so...  Without further adieu, won't you please join me as I take you on a two-part photographic journey to, in the words of a third grader, "the coolest place in the world that I've ever been!"

So go and enjoy some Ice -- I dare you!

-- Ken Carlson --